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Title: The Enchanted Castle

A Book of Fairy Tales from Flowerland

Editor: Hartwell James

Release Date: January 31, 2009 [eBook #27952]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


E-text prepared by Michael Gray (






A child and a flower.

"You will come to the walls of an old castle"


The Enchanted Castle

A Book of Fairy Tales
From Flowerland


A border

A flower




Fairy Tales Series

The Magic Bed
A Book of East Indian Tales

The Cat and the Mouse
A Book of Persian Tales

The Jeweled Sea
A Book of Chinese Tales

The Magic Jaw Bone
A Book of South Sea Islands Tales

The Man Elephant
A Book of African Tales

The Enchanted Castle
A Book of Tales from Flower Land

Fifty Cents Each

Copyright, 1906
By Henry Altemus


Every boy and girl—and for that matter every man and woman, too—rejoices when the winter snows have vanished and the earth once more puts on her beautiful dress of green, for then the flowers wake from their sleep and clothe the earth with beauty.

Because all boys and girls love flowers, those of them who read this book will be interested in the beautiful stories they have to tell, loving them even more when they know something of their past history and some of the events with which they are associated.

Hundreds of years ago, before clocks or watches were invented, people used to tell the time by means of flowers, and

" 'Twas a lovely thought to mark the hours
    As they floated in light away,
 By the opening and the folding flowers
    That laugh to the summer's day."

One very old writer tells us that he knew of forty-six flowers by which he could tell the time, and since then a great many more have been discovered. These time-keepers open and shut their blossoms at exactly the same time each day, and every hour of the day or night some flower opens and closes its petals.

Then those who love fairies know that they have much to do with the flowers, and while to some they may seem very trifling occupations—this writing and reading about fairies—yet

"Another sort there be, that will
Be talking of the Fairies still;
Nor never can they have their fill
    As they were wedded to them."



The Enchanted Castle
The Fair Maids of February
The Loveless Youth
The Wind Flower
The Fate of Hyacinthus
St. Leonard and the Fiery Snake
A Fair Prisoner
The Ungrateful Traveler
The Star of Bethlehem
The Angel's Gift
The Holy Hay
The Search for Gold
The Flower Fairies



A flower

List of Illustrations

"'You will come to the walls of an old castle'"
"'I am gathering them for Mother'"
"Slowly the great door opened"
"'The Key-flower will always admit you'"
"Hastened home to her mother"
"The skies were gray and cheerless"
"'Tell me why thou weepest'"
"The angel handed her the frail blossom"
"When the winter snows disappear"
"The monks were fond of planting the snowdrops"
"The boy did not return their love"
"The image in the water returned no answer"
"Zephyr cared not for Lady Flora"
"When the March winds blow"
"She is a capital weather-glass"
"They walked and drove together"
"Playing a game of quoits together"
"He had slain him with his own hand"
"With such returning spring"
"The country people warned him"
"He sank, exhausted, upon the steps"
"As they followed its winding course"
"But St. Leonard drew his sword"
"Shut up in the turret-chamber"
"In the disguise of a peddler"
"She fell into the court yard below"
"The sweet blossoms of a tiny flower"
"A great doorway in the rock"
"Once more upon the bleak mountain side"
"He could hear the voices of the priests"
"'The Star of Bethlehem' men call it"
"The bright messenger from heaven"
"Then she was tied to the stake"
"'Make me more lovely still'"
"The birds of the air came to him"
"A crown around the baby head"
"His bed was of fresh, sweet hay"
"They were struck with wonder"
"Hunted down like wild beasts"
"The Spaniards called them Marigolds"





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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"Primroses, the Spring may love them,
Summer knows but little of them."


ONE day a little German girl was gathering flowers in the meadows, when she was met by a wonderful maiden. Wondrous fair the maiden was to look upon.

Her dress was of pale green velvet, with streaks of bright crimson. In her hand she carried a basket of spring flowers, and on her head she wore a wreath of pale yellow blossoms. Her voice was like the sound of silver bells.

"Lisbeth, you are a good child," she said. "You have done your best to help your sick mother, and now tell me, what are you going to do with the flowers you are gathering?"

"I am gathering them for Mother"

And the little girl replied, "I am gathering them for mother. She loves the spring flowers, but she is too ill to gather them for herself, and she cannot afford to buy them."

"I know that you are telling the truth," said the fairy. "Your mother is sick and poor, and you want to help her. Now look at this, Lisbeth," she continued, giving the child a blossom from her basket like those upon her head, "this is a primrose. Take it, and as you walk along follow the primrose blossoms until you come to the walls of an old castle.

"In the wall you will find a great doorway, covered all over with flowers. Touch the lock gently with your 'key-flower'" pointing to the primrose she had given her, "and the door will open so that you may enter the enchanted castle. I will meet you there again."

Then the fairy vanished as suddenly as she had appeared, but the astonished Lisbeth did as she had been told, and followed the primroses on the banks until she reached the castle walls.

She soon found the door covered with flowers, and moving aside some of the beautiful blossoms, she placed her "key-flower" upon the lock. Slowly the great door opened, but Lisbeth was so surprised at what she saw within that she was afraid to enter, and could only stand and look.

Great baskets hung from the roof of the house full of the pale yellow blossoms; banks of them were heaped around the walls; while upon the floor and tables stood vases of all shapes and sizes containing nothing but primroses.

Slowly the great door opened

But in a few minutes she heard a sweet voice calling her, and on entering she saw once more her fairy friend.

"Lisbeth," the fairy said, "come in and take what you like. Under those sweet blossoms are chests containing gold, silver and jewels. You may remove the flowers and open which you please. Take as much as you can carry, and come again as often as you like. The 'key-flower' will always admit you.

"The Key-flower will always admit you"

"But there is one thing you must remember. You must not take away a single blossom, but every flower must be replaced where you find it. So long as you observe this rule you will always find an entrance into this home of wealth and treasure, but if you disobey punishment will quickly follow."

As she spoke these words the fairy again vanished, and Lisbeth, seeking among the flowers, found the treasure of which she had been told. Filling her apron with gold and silver, she replaced the blossoms she had removed, and hastened home to her mother.

Hastened home to her mother

And great was the delight of the poor sick woman, for now she and her little daughter need be no longer poor. Many and many a time they visited the enchanted castle; and ever since Lisbeth told the story to her friends, the boys and girls of Germany have called the primrose the "key-flower."

They believe that as long as they are good and obedient it will unlock for them the door of the enchanted castle, where treasures of wealth and happiness are to be found.

Lisbeth and the fairy

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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"The frail snowdrop
Born of the breath of Winter."

Barry Cornwall.

A GREAT many years ago, when Adam and Eve were turned out of Eden for their disobedience, Eve looked out over the bare and desolate earth and wept for the beauty she had lost.

Before this it had always been summer-time. The sun had always shone, and Eve had breathed the fragrance of the flowers, day after day, and gathered them at her own sweet will.

But now it was winter, and all was changed. The trees stood bare and leafless; no birds sang in their branches; no sweet blossoms raised their heads to catch the sun's warm rays. The skies were gray and cheerless, and ever the soft white snow kept falling silently, "like the footsteps of angels descending upon earth."

The skies were gray and cheerless

But the good God in Heaven saw Eve sit weeping, niŁ, and looked down on her with pitying eyes, and turning to one of the bright angels who stood by, ready to do His bidding, He said:

"Tell me why thou weepest"

"See how yonder poor woman sits weeping. Go swiftly and do what thou canst to comfort her," and the angel spread her wings and sped earthward with the falling snow.

"Tell me why thou weepest," she said, as she placed her hand gently upon the head of the weeping woman.

And Eve replied, "I weep because the earth is bare and desolate, and there is nought that is beautiful to be seen. I pray thee tell me, if thou canst, where are the flowers that I love so well. Tell me, shall I ever see them more?"

The angel smiled, and stretching out her hand to catch the falling flakes of snow, said:

"Is not this beautiful? So white, so pure, so gentle. It is the covering which your Heavenly Father in His great love spreads over the cold earth."

And even as she spoke the snowflake in her hand took form and budded and blossomed into a pure white flower, which hung its dainty head and trembled as if afraid to look upon the world into which it had been born.

The angel handed her the frail blossom

Then Eve dried her tears and broke forth into smiles as the angel handed her the frail blossom, saying:

"It is a snowdrop. Take it, Eve, for it is a promise of better things to come. Never again doubt your Father's love. You have only to wait, and when the winter's snows have gone and the summer sun shines once more, the flowers will bloom again as beautiful as ever."

When the winter snows disappear

Then Eve watched the angel return to Heaven, until the gleam of her silver wings was no longer to be seen. She still carried in her hand his tiny gift and as she turned away she saw that where the angel's feet had rested the snow had melted away, and on the green grass beneath was growing a lovely cluster of snowdrops.

And every year since then, when the winter snows disappear, these sweet forerunners of the spring are found in the woods and dells, bringing a message of hope and a promise of brighter days to come.

The monks were fond of planting the snowdrops

Many years afterwards the monks were fond of planting the snowdrop in their beautiful gardens. Not only did it teach them a lesson of faith and trust, but its sweet white blossoms were regarded as an emblem of purity. And poets have always loved to sing the praises of this, the earliest flower of spring.



A flower

Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"Daffodils, that come before the swallow dares,
And take the winds of March with beauty."


YEARS and years ago the River-god wedded a beautiful water-nymph. Their son, Narcissus, was such a lovely boy to look upon that all who saw him loved him; but the boy did not return their love, for he was full of vanity and thought only of himself.

Now as he grew to manhood Narcissus became more and more beautiful, and each woodland fairy or water-nymph would gladly have become his bride.

At last a gentle nymph named Echo fell in love with him, and since he would not look at her, or give heed to her soft words, she pined away until nothing but her voice remained.

The boy did not return their love

Even to this day her plaintive cry may be heard among the hills answering back again the voices of those who laugh and sing. But now the nymphs were angry with the loveless youth, and prayed the gods to punish him for his heartlessness.

So one day when he was wandering in the fields, they caused him to see his own features reflected in the clear waters of a crystal pool.

The image in the water returned no answer

Now Narcissus did not know that it was his own face which smiled up at him from the depths of the pool, but took it to be that of some lovely water-nymph, and full of love and admiration he determined to win her for his bride.

But the image in the water returned no answer to his loving words, and did but mimic his every act and movement, till at last, in despair, he sat down by the water's edge and wept bitter tears of disappointed love.

And there he sat, day by day, till he grew pale and thin, and at last, like poor Echo, he pined away and died.

Then on the border of the lake, where his dead body lay, there sprang up clusters of golden blossoms. Daffodils we call them, but the gods called them "Narcissus," in memory of the loveless youth.

And beautiful they were to look upon; but there was something missing, for as Narcissus shed no love around his path through life, so the flowers which bear his name shed no fragrance upon the air.



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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"The coy Anemone, that ne'er uncloses
Her lips, until they're blown on by the wind."

H. Smith.

FLORA, Queen of all the flowers, fell in love with Zephyr, the West-wind, whose gentle breezes fanned her favorite blossoms, cooling them when the fierce rays of the sun fell hot upon them. But Zephyr cared not for Lady Flora.

Zephyr loved a gentle nymph, who returned his affection, but ere she could become his bride Flora changed her into a plant whose pale blossoms shine and twinkle in the woods like stars on a dark night.

Zephyr cared not for Lady Flora

Now this fair nymph was beloved not only by Zephyr, the gentle West-wind, but by Boreas, the cold, rough North-wind, and it happened that the time at which she became a flower was at that season when "the North-wind doth blow," so Boreas had her in his power.

And then to punish her for bestowing her love upon another, he blew roughly upon her and scattered her delicate petals upon the ground. Then the gods, because she was beloved by the winds, called her Anemone, the wind-flower.

When the March winds blow

Every year when the March winds blow she opens her dainty blossoms, and every year Boreas revenges his unrequited love by shattering and destroying her beauty.

But the gentle Anemone returns good for evil, for she loves the wind, and opens her soft pink and white petals when the March breezes blow loud and shrill.

She is a capital weather-glass

The poets call her "Child of the Wind," and country people tell us she is a capital weather-glass, for when the wind drops and rain clouds begin to gather she knows that rain is coming.

Gentle, loving little flower, "Waiting for the breathing of the wind," we can all have a lesson from you. Why not be like the Anemone, and when others use you roughly, seek not revenge, but rather give good for evil.

A girl with flowers

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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"His polish'd limbs, by strange enchantment's power,
Shoot into bud and blossom into flower."


ONE day when Apollo, the Sun-god, was driving in his chariot across the land of Greece, he saw in the palace gardens of the King of Sparta a beautiful boy at play.

No sooner did the Sun-god set ryes upon the king's son than he loved him and desired to have him for his own. He quickly won the boy's affections, and the two were like father and son, so happy were they in their love for one another.

They walked and drove together

They walked and drove together, and played at merry games in the king's gardens, while Apollo lavished upon the boy gifts rich and costly, for he thought nothing too good for his beautiful Hyacinthus.

So all went well for quite a time, until Zephyr, the West-wind, who also loved the boy, grew jealous of his evident preference for the Sun-god.

He tried by all means in his power to win the love of Hyacinthus, but the youth took no heed, and in spite of the West-wind's gentle words and tender, soft caresses, he continued to love Apollo best.

Playing a game of quoits together

Then Zephyr became angry and jealous. Day by day he watched the two friends, and waited his opportunity for revenge.

Now it happened one bright spring morning that Apollo and Hyacinthus were playing a game of quoits together. The boy's merry laugh rang through the clear air and reached the ears of Zephyr, who was hiding in the branches of a tree close by.

He had slain him with his own hand

An angry look passed over his face as he exclaimed, "He shall die. Rather than give him up to Apollo, I will cause his death!"

At that very moment Apollo raised his arm and threw his quoit. Straight as a dart it sped, until a strong gust of wind, raised for the purpose by the angry Zephyr, changed its course, so that it struck Hyacinthus upon the head and killed him.

And now the revenge of the West-wind was complete, for not only had Apollo lost the object of his love, but he had slain him with his own hands.

With such returning spring

Then the Sun-god was frantic with grief, and, casting himself upon the body of his favorite, he wept loud and long. "Oh! my beloved," he cried, "come back, come back to me! woe, woe, woe is me!"

But nothing could restore the boy to life again. There was but one thing he could do, and in order that the memory of his darling might remain fresh and fragrant among men, he changed the beautiful but lifeless form into a sweet and lovely flower. So year by year, with each returning spring, the Hyacinths reappear and spread a rich carpet over the woods and dells, reminding us of the ill-fated youth whose life was sacrificed to "the green-eyed monster," jealousy.




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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"A little monitor presents her page
Of choice instruction, with her snowy bells!
The Lily of the Vale."

HUNDREDS of years ago there was a vast forest in England, wherein lurked all manner of wild beasts and loathsome reptiles. The trees grew thick and tall, but beneath them the earth was brown and bare, for no grass or flower could grow within the gloomy forest.

Now at this time there lived a good and holy knight named Saint Leonard, and it so happened that as he journeyed through the land, seeking how he might do good and help his fellow-men, that he came in the course of his wanderings to the borders of the great forest.

The country people whom he met warned him against attempting to penetrate its depths, and said to him, "The forest is haunted with evil things, which no man shall encounter and live to tell the tale."

Now Saint Leonard did not know what fear was, and persisted on going into the perilous forest. So he left them and entered the gloomy wood, and before he had gone far he saw coming towards him a terrible monster in the form of a fiery snake.

On it came, breathing out flames of fire, and preparing to coil itself around the brave knight, whom it would have crushed to death in its fierce embrace.

The country people warned him

But Saint Leonard drew his sword and prepared to engage in a deadly struggle with the monster. For three long days and nights they fought, until on the morning of the fourth day the evil beast lay wounded and dying at the feet of the victorious knight.

He sank, exhausted, upon the steps

With one stroke of his sword he severed the head of the snake from its body, and then turned to retrace his steps towards the village he had left.

The dying shrieks of the fiery snake had so terrified the other evil inhabitants of the forest that they had all taken flight, most of them in their great haste falling headlong into the ocean on the shores of the great forest.

But the knight had been sorely wounded in the fray and blood-drops marked his way through the trackless forest.

As they followed its winding course

At length he reached the village and sank, exhausted and senseless, upon the steps of the nearest cottage. The villagers thought he had returned only to die, but after a time he opened his eyes, and in a few days he was strong enough to tell his wondrous tale.

But St. Leonard drew his sword

Then, indeed, the villagers were filled with astonishment, and a party of them set off to see if the knight's story was true. To their great surprise, when they reached the borders of the forest, there lay before them a sunlit path strewn with pure white blossoms.

As they followed its winding course, they found that wherever the blood of the wounded knight had fallen, lovely "Lilies of the Valley" had sprang up. On and on they went, until they came to the spot where the death-blow had been given.

The body of the hideous monster had disappeared, but all around, the sweet, fragrant lilies grew in lovely clusters, and from their tiny bells came sweet music, repeating to the astonished villagers the story of the triumph of good over evil, love over hate, right over might.

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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"The sweetest flower
That decks the golden breast of May."


SOME four or five hundred years ago there stood upon the banks of the River Tweed, in Great Britain, a grand and stately castle.

It was enclosed by high walls, and its gates were guarded day and night by soldiers, for these were warlike times, and an enemy might be lurking near, watching his opportunity to make a raid upon the owner's property.

At one corner of the castle was a high tower, in the topmost chamber of which was imprisoned a beautiful maiden, the only daughter of the chieftain who owned the castle.

And not far away stood another grand old castle, the lord of which was her father's greatest enemy, whose only son had dared to ask the maiden's hand in marriage.

Very terrible to see was the chieftain's anger when his child confessed her love for the son of his enemy; and since she would not give him up, or listen to the words of other suitors, he shut her up in the turret-chamber, where she could hold no communication with the outer world.

Day after day this stern father climbed the steep staircase and bid the maiden renounce her love. But the poor girl remained faithful, and continued a prisoner.

Shut up in the turret-chamber

And what of her lover? Had he deserted her? No indeed; he thought of her day and night, and was busy forming plans for her escape.

In the disguise of a peddler he came to offer his wares for sale at the castle, and by means of rich gifts he bribed the maid who waited upon his betrothed to convey to her a stout silken cord, by which she should descend from the turret-window.

In the disguise of a peddler

There he would await her, with horses, outside the castle walls, and together they would ride to the nearest church and be wedded without delay.

At last the appointed day came. In the gathering twilight the maiden saw her lover's signal, and fastening the cord to the bars of the window she began the perilous descent.

She fell into the court yard below

But, alas, for the hopes of the youthful pair! Making too great haste to accomplish her descent, her trembling hands missed their hold of the ropes and she fell, bruised, bleeding, and dying, into the courtyard below. Then in the words of an old song:

"Love in pity to the deed,
  And her loving luckless speed,
  Twined her to this plant we call
  Now the 'Flower of the Wall.'"

And ever since, upon old walls, and in the nooks and crannies of ruined buildings, the golden wallflowers have bloomed, filling the air with fragrance as they tell their story of faithful love.

The fair prisoner.

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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"That blue and bright-eyed flow'ret of the brook,
Hope's gentle gem, the sweet forget-me-not."


ONCE a weary traveler, wandering alone on the steep side of a bare and desolate mountain, came unexpectedly upon a tiny stream of water trickling down between the rocks.

Following its course down the mountain side, he entered a wooded glen, where the banks of the stream were covered with green grass, among which he suddenly espied the sweet blue blossoms of a tiny flower.

The sweet blossoms of a tiny flower

For many days his path had lain across a rough and rugged country, where no blade of grass or star-like blossom greeted his coming, so now he eagerly gathered a handful of the pale blue flowers and tied them for safety to the handle of his staff. Then as he turned to continue his way he saw before him a great doorway in the rock, which opened to him of its own accord.

A great doorway in the rock

Entering, he found himself in a magnificent home, where around him on every side lay heaps of treasure—gold, silver, and rich raiment—while fairy voices bid him help himself.

Hastily throwing aside his staff, and with it the "luck-flowers" which he had gathered, he filled his pockets with jewels, and taking as much treasure as he could carry in his arms he turned to retrace steps. As he did so, a sweet voice sounded in his ear, crying, "Forget-me-not! Forget-me-not!"

But the ungrateful traveler paid no attention t the cry, and as he left the home the great door closed behind him with a crash.

Once more upon the bleak mountain side

Instantly he found himself once more upon the bleak mountain side. The treasure which he had so greedily collected vanished from his grasp. Not even his staff remained to him, for he had left it behind with the "luck-flowers."

Then full of grief and disappointment, he continued his journey across the lonely mountain; but though he sought it far and near he never again found the precious "luck-flower," without which he could not gain an entrance to the fairy cave.

Thus was his ingratitude punished; and the sweet forget-me-not growing by the river-side contains a lesson for all who gather it, bidding them ever remember the "Great Giver of all Good Gifts."

An angel

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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine."


A A GOOD and holy man sat down to rest one evening beneath the shade of the palm-tree in a far Eastern country, far away from home and friends.

The sun was sinking in the west, the air was hot and sultry, and all around him grew strange and wondrous plants and flowers.

It was a beautiful land, but the stranger's heart was sad within him. He had traveled far in order to carry the story of "Jesus and His love" into heathen lands, but here, among the followers of the "false prophet," none would listen to his tale. Even now as he sat beneath the palm-tree, the spires of the Mohammedan mosques gleamed white in the distance, and he could hear the voices of the priests as they chanted their evensong.

He could hear the voices of the priests

"How ever can I serve my Master in such a land as this!" exclaimed the holy man.

"All around me seems to brood the spell of an unholy influence; even the very flowers have taken part in heathen rites and ceremonies.

"Help me, Lord, for I am very weak," and the stranger bowed his head in prayer.

'The Star of Bethlehem' men call it

Just then a thrill of hope and joy passed through his sinking heart, for there in the green grass at his feet were the familiar star-like blossoms of a tiny plant.

"The Star of Bethlehem" men call it, because of its resemblance to the bright messenger from heaven which, years ago, led the shepherds of Bethlehem to the birthplace of the infant Saviour.

The bright messenger from heaven

And many and many times had the traveler gathered its pure white blossoms beside his own cottage door, and now, as he saw it growing contentedly beneath the shadow of those pagan plants, his soul was filled with fresh courage. Here in a strange land the little flower told the story of the Saviour's birth, and its presence seemed to shed a ray of light and hope around.

Cheered and strengthened, the holy man went on his way, ready once more to fulfil his labor of love, and to proclaim the good tidings of salvation to all who would hear.

The holy man

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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"Rose! thou art the sweetest flower
That ever drank the amber shower."


MORE than a thousand years ago, in the city of Bethlehem, a gentle maiden was accused by her enemies of wicked deeds, for which she was condemned to die. But the maiden was innocent; and as she was led out to be burned, she prayed to God to prove her innocence.

Then she was tied to the stake, and the faggots around her were set on fire, but to the astonishment of the bystanders they would not burn, and as the flames died out the stake to which the innocent maid was fastened became a tree, bearing red and white roses.

They were the first roses ever seen on earth, said the people, and never before had such lovely flowers been seen.

It is said that not long after the angel who takes care of the flowers in God's beautiful garden, sprinkling them with dew in the early morn, fell asleep one warm summer day beneath the shade of a rose tree.

Awaking refreshed, she turned to the tree, saying, "My beautiful child, how can I reward thee for the cool shelter of thy sweet-scented branches?"

And the rose replied, "They call me the most beautiful of flowers. Make me, I pray thee, even more lovely still, if it be in thy power to do so."

Then she was tied to the stake

Then the angel covered her with a coat of soft green moss, wherein she might hide her blushing face from the gaze of the passers-by.

"Make me more lovely still"

Now the rose is beloved by all the birds, especially by the nightingale, the sweetest singer of them all. So great is his love that though

" . . . rich the spot
  With every flower this earth has got,
What is it to the nightingale
  If there his darling rose is not?"

It is said that when King Solomon, the wisest of kings, was reigning, the birds of the air came to him one day and told him that they could not sleep at night because of the weeping of the nightingale.

The birds of the air came to him

"But why do you weep?" inquired the King of the nightingale.

And the bird replied, "Once I was dumb, but the rose taught me to sing, and now I cannot bear to see her rudely handled and her petals crushed beneath the foot of man."

And indeed the fragrant rose is worthy of our love, for it is among the most beautiful of our Heavenly Father's gifts to us.

A rose

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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"Little deeds of kindness,
  Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden
  Like the heaven above."

Dr. Brewer.

ALMOST two thousand years ago the infant Jesus was laid to sleep in the manger of the inn at Bethlehem.

His bed was of fresh, sweet hay, among which were some fragments of a little plant which had grown all unnoticed among the grass.

In wonder the tiny weed listened to the song of the angels as they sang "the sweetest carol ever heard"; in wonder it saw the precious gifts offered by the wise men and heard the praises of the shepherds who had found their Saviour.

A crown around the baby head

"There must be something I can do," whispered the little flower to itself, and presently the pretty pink blossoms opened and gently twined themselves into a crown around the baby head.

His bed was of fresh, sweet hay

Some travelers standing near exclaimed "'Tis Holy Hay," and ever since the pretty blossoms have borne the name of "Saint-foin;" and ever as they reappear, year by year, in the fields and meadows they remind the little ones of that land that even they can do something "to please the King of Heaven."

The child Jesus

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Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"The Marigold, that goes to bed with the sun,
And with him rises weeping."


ABOUT four hundred years ago travelers returning to Europe brought back wondrous tales of rich gold mines in the country of Mexico, and after a while the people of Spain sent an army to fight the Mexicans and rob them of their riches.

When the Spanish army reached the City of Mexico, which stood in the midst of a great plain, they were struck with wonder at the beauty and grandeur of all they saw.

They were struck with wonder

Gold seemed to be everywhere. Gold, gold, gold! But not content with taking what they could get, these cruel soldiers fell upon the Mexican nobles and put hundreds of them to death for the sake of the rich jewels they wore.

After this there was a great battle, and the Mexican King was taken prisoner and shut up in his own palace.

But the brave people of the country were so enraged by the cruelties of their Spanish conquerors that they would not submit. Battle after battle was fought, and the people were hunted down like wild beasts.

Hunted down like wild beasts

At last the King was taken out of his prison and placed in front of the Spanish army, and there in the fierce heat of the fight he was slain.

Soon after the Mexicans fled, leaving thousands of brave men dead upon the battlefield. Their royal standard of pure gold was captured and Mexico was conquered. Then the Spaniards returned home, leaving only a small army to guard the city.

The Spaniards called them Marigolds

In the following summer the vast plain surrounding the capital, upon which the last great battle had been fought, was covered with a wealth of golden blossoms.

Then the Mexicans said, "It is the 'Death-flower.' It has sprung from the blood of our brothers slain in battle by the cruel Spaniards."

But the Spaniards called them Marigolds, or "Mary's gold," because they said the mother of Jesus had given them the victory.

A girl on the moon.

A design



A design

Fairy Tales from Flower Land


"Never tread beneath your feet
  Flowers fair and flowers sweet;
Touch us tenderly with care
  Flowers sweet and flowers fair."

ONE bright sunny morning little Mae went out into the fields to gather a bunch of flowers for her mother. She went happily along, and soon came to a meadow gay with yellow buttercups.

She picked a handful and then ran on, for she could see, just over the next wall, the red blossoms of a field of poppies.

Some of these she gathered and put among her buttercups; but she did not stay long in this field, for she knew that a little farther on there was a stream, beside which grew the pretty blue forget-me-nots of which her mother was so fond.

So Mae gathered a big bunch of these, and now held in her hand buttercups, poppies, and forget-me-nots.

But after a while she began to get tired, so she sat down on the bank to rest, and presently she heard a soft little voice say: "Do you like butter?"

Mae looked quickly around, and saw before her a pretty little lady, with a crown of gold upon her head and dressed all in yellow.

She was very much surprised, but being a polite little girl, replied: "Yes, thank you; and will you please tell me your name?"

"Certainly," said the little lady. "My name is Fairy Yellow, and I am Queen of the buttercups and daffodils, and all the yellow flowers; here come my sisters, Fairy Red and Fairy Blue."

And there they were, two more little ladies, one dressed in red and the other in blue.

"Good morning," said Mae.

"Good morning," said Fairy Red. "I live among the poppies, and all the red flowers belong to me; poppies, and roses, and the holly-berries, and many more besides."

Then Fairy Blue said, "I am mistress of the bluebells, and hare-bells, and forget-me-nots, and all the sweet blue flowers."

"I think you are all very pretty," said Mae, "and I shall always think of you when I look at the flowers; but now I must go home; so good-bye."

"But we are going with you," said the fairies, and to Mae's astonishment each crept into a flower and nestled down comfortably; Fairy Yellow in a buttercup, Fairy Red in a poppy, and Fairy Blue in a forget-me-not.

So Mae gathered up her flowers and set off home, and all the way the fairies sang to her the sweetest songs.

A design



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